'Urban dwellers 'should keep bees'

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Rosti 

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BBC news website: Thursday 05 Aug 09 (also on the Today program). 'Urban dwellers 'should keep bees'

A potential flood of welcome new participants and a diversication of bee population or a worrying potential for dilution of skills and disease proliferation. As they say in GCSE exams "discuss" ?


Urban dwellers 'should keep bees'

Honeybee numbers are in decline
People living in urban areas are being encouraged to consider keeping bees in gardens, on roofs or on balconies to help reverse population decline.

Conservation watchdog Natural England wants more homeowners to install hives and grow insect-friendly plants.

Nearly all the UK's 250 species of bee are in decline. Honeybee numbers have fallen by 10-15% in the last two years.

Experts say sustaining bee populations is essential to ensuring the survival of Britain's plants and crops.

Natural England wants to see more UK bee colonies, which would make the insects more resistant to their biggest killers - disease and pests, such as the varroa mite.

'Not wildlife deserts'

The organisation's chief scientist, Tom Tew, said urban areas could play a crucial part in encouraging bees and a new easy-to-use beehive, called a beehaus, could help more people become apiarists.

"There's no reason why our towns and cities should exist as wildlife deserts - wildlife can thrive when we design our urban areas with nature in mind and the 'beehaus' is a great example of how easy it is for anyone to bring the natural world closer to their doorstep," he said.


The new beehaus is intended for use in towns and cities
Bees played a crucial role in pollinating plants and crops, he explained, and Britons needed "to recognise that, if we want plants to flourish, we need healthy populations of insects to sustain them".

Some £100m to £200m worth of British commercial crops are estimated to benefit from bee pollination every year. Honey itself is also thought to be worth between £10m and £30m to the UK economy.

The first of the newly-designed urban beehives is due to be installed on the roof of Natural England's central London offices, but Dr Tew said the bees would not be coming into contact with pedestrians on pavements because they flew about five metres off the ground.

Omlet, the firm that fuelled interest in urban chicken-rearing with its modern plastic "Eglu" coop, designed the new beehaus and said bee-keeping did not require acres of land.

"Those in the know have been keeping bees in towns for a long time. Keeping a hive doesn't take much space, so you can even keep them on balconies, roof tops and obviously gardens," said Johannes Paul, from the company.

Natural England urged aspiring apiarists to think carefully about the commitment required when keeping bees, and encouraged people to seek professional advice or visit their local beekeeping association before making a decision.
 

Brosville 

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and not a dicky-bird about stopping the use of "icides" in gardens and the countryside, because of course, they are positively beneficial to the bees!
 

Arf 

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Hi all,

I'm brand new :) I found this site while researching the prospect of keeping bees as a result of reading one of the articles regarding this subject in the news today. Living up in Dunblane, Perthshire, and being very close to the edge of town, i think i may be situated in a decent place for this. I've always held a muted interest in beekeeping, perhaps now would be a good time to pursue that thought.

First and foremost, i am here to learn and essentially conduct my own little feasibility study before considering actually buying anything and trying it.

I therefore introduce myself,
with peaceful greetings,
Arf
 

thurrock bees 

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Hi all,

I'm brand new :) I found this site while researching the prospect of keeping bees as a result of reading one of the articles regarding this subject in the news today. Living up in Dunblane, Perthshire, and being very close to the edge of town, i think i may be situated in a decent place for this. I've always held a muted interest in beekeeping, perhaps now would be a good time to pursue that thought.

First and foremost, i am here to learn and essentially conduct my own little feasibility study before considering actually buying anything and trying it.

I therefore introduce myself,
with peaceful greetings,
Arf
get in contact with your local beekeeping ass. and speak to them, as some people dont like the bees flying aound you while opening the hive. most people know will suit you up and take you tho. a hive.

chris
thurrock bees
 

Arf 

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Hi Chris,

I am, at present, looking into registering my interest with my local association. It seems a wise move to test the water, so to speak. Cheers, Arf
 

steve1958 

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Hi Arf
I am a new Bee keeper.
I started by contacting the Local Association.
They put me in contact with a guy who runs Bee keeping courses.
I then went on a course,and got some 'Hands-on' experience,
whilst at the same time reading up on the subject.
Result
I now have one Hive of Bees :)
 

Arf 

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Definitely sounds like the way forward :) Looking forward to this. And having had a good read around this site, its a goldmine, Cheers :cheers2:
 

grizzly 

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I cringed while watching this on the lunchtime news, publicity for our little friends is fabulous but dont make it sound so simple, buy this box, stick some bees in it and Abracadabra you can have 50-100 jars of honey each year.

Good for you Arf & Steve, you tread the path we have all followed, and you have done things the right way.
 

jezd 

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I cringed while watching this on the lunchtime news, publicity for our little friends is fabulous but dont make it sound so simple, buy this box, stick some bees in it and Abracadabra you can have 50-100 jars of honey each year.

Good for you Arf & Steve, you tread the path we have all followed, and you have done things the right way.
Agree, I spent a good 6 months researching before I took first steps - I expect to see some interesting litigation actions appearing from flooding urban areas.

http://www.omlet.co.uk/products_services/products_services.php?view=bees&about=garden bees

I love the image with the arrow. it doesn’t show the kids playing in the garden the other side of the fence :) My own view is the flight path should be pointing inwards/towards your own property and then use something to raise them up.

Also, has anyone mentioned swarm control? do you need to buy two of these plastic boxes?

Jez
 

8LGM 

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Question over the Omlet hive.

Hi,

I’m relatively new to beekeeping. I read up everything I could for about a year then went on a course and then got my hive and bees. Everything is going well so far.

My question is: What is the benefit of this Omlet Hive? It appears to take up more room than a national, cost about three times the amount, and is made from plastics rather than eco friendly wood.

Or did I miss something.
 

Vortex 

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I'm in the same boat with regard to keeping bees. I got interested in keeping due to the bekeeper involved with our Saxon Longhall reconstruction, started helping him earlier in the year, joined my local association, which means I can now get my hands dirty, and am in the process of building my own Langstroth hives. I'll have one, may be 2 next year. I know exactly where they're going, having worked out flight paths so as not to annoy either the neighbours or anyone else.

In the end I think the beehaus will do more harm than good. It's an overpriced gimmick, and a potential source of uncontrolled disease. How many owners due think are going to bother joining their local associations or registering their ownership of hives so they can be inspected?
 

Rosti 

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Originally Posted by 8LGM
My question is: What is the benefit of this Omlet Hive?

The Beehaus is not a conservation initiative it is a product, it is sold to make a profit. The company have been smart and have got English Nature to endorse it and £m's of free advertising from the TV channels. Fair play to them, that's what profit focussed companies do. As Jimthebeekeeper said it is an innovative design, you can't knock it for that. Where the fairy story falls down is if many well intended individuals get into beekeeping, have problems are isolated and fail. Omlet presumably wont be worried about that because they have already made their 1 off profit. If in failing those originally well intended individuals promote disease they could unitentionally be doing more damage than good. At £500 a time, what ever it is they are charging I would have thought it reasonable to be including a beginners course (organised through English nature perhaps) and the cost of BBKA membership for their first year, that way they could argue that they have made a moral profit with some attempt to make a sustainable difference. I don't get a sense that that's what they are up to?

Call me a cycnic ... "you're a cycnic" ... who said that? ... cripes I'm hearing voices now!
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Originally Posted by 8LGM
I would have thought it reasonable to be including a beginners course
Yes they are!

They are taking names for local mentors, I have allready given mine and am in the process of becoming an "offical" beehaus "party host":cheers2:
 

Geoff 

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Why not apply the same questions to Thornes or anyone else who sells beehives? There are quite a few firms selling everything for the beginner bar the bees and i think some might even offer bees as well. I dont see why Omlet should be viewed differently from anyone else, just because they have a hive that looks different. Just because it is different does not mean they are going to be more morally responsible for getting inexperienced beekeepers into trouble or spreading disease or causing swarms than anyone else who sells beehives.
I dont like the Beehaus personally but good on them for coming up with something different from the normal packing case shape and getting free advertising off the telly - someone at Omlet is earning his salary for them.
 

Frisbee 

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Why not apply the same questions to Thornes or anyone else who sells beehives? There are quite a few firms selling everything for the beginner bar the bees and i think some might even offer bees as well. I dont see why Omlet should be viewed differently from anyone else
I think the blatant advertising is the problem here. Thorne's and other such suppliers are quietly carrying on their trade, and as such are findeable to people who want to find them. Omlet have stormed the market with this trendy new design and are appealing to the young middle class in these times of recession and recycle green..........people who normally wouldn't even consider where honey came from, the plight of honeybees is highlighted every other day and suddenly this new designer hive has appeared. As with all things new and different, people will be divided on their loves/hates of the product, based generally on bias and narrow mindedness - on both sides I hasten to add before anyone who has condemned it comes on and says I called them narrow minded............The worry as far as I am concerned is the fact that they call beekeeping easy and something that can be done in your back garden. There are plenty of people who keep them in their garden, but knowing what I know now I wouldn't be one of them, and although beekeeping isn't difficult, it's such a steep learning curve and so much can go wrong, it's not in the same league as keeping a couple of chickens on your lawn.

Frisbee
 

anniebygaslight 

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It amuses me that Omlet are being criticised for making a profit on the Beeshaus.

Erm.....surely all businesses manufacturing hives for sale, of whatever design are doing exactly that.

Can't see the difference myself.

I am a fan of Omlet products, they have served me well, and want to learn more about beekeeping.

I shall enter the arena with a completely open mind and join my local Beekeeping Assoc (have already made overtures), go on a beginners course, find a mentor etc and if I find that beekeeping is for me I shall base my decision re the purchase of a hive on what I have learned 'in the field' and not on some pretty pics on 'tinterweb and a 5 second soundbite on the telly box.
 

admin 

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Well done Annie,I can see you have the right attitude to become a successful beekeeper.

You seem to of answered most beekeepers concerns in a single post.
 

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